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Remick Family Hall to become a new space for students

| Thursday, February 20, 2020

Nestled behind the Basilica lies the University’s old French Quarter, home to former Brownson Hall and soon-to-be Remick Family Hall. The former building’s courtyard and ivy wall has been enjoyed by many and photographed for years. The project started with the demolition of Brownson Hall and is now in the building phase of the new Remick Family Hall. 

Vice president and University architect of facilities design and operations Doug Marsh said the new facility will provide a space for the institute of educational initiatives and the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). 

“The project is to replace what had become a building that had served the University very well for very long with a new facility to support the growing programs of the Institute of Educational Initiatives and the Alliance for Catholic Education,” Marsh said in an email. 

Marsh said the new building will resemble Brownson Hall. 

“The footprint matches very closely the footprint of Brownson Hall,” Marsh said. “Most importantly, the wonderful courtyard that so many people enjoyed discovering during their tours of campus will be recreated.”

The University worked with architectural firm SLAM Collaborative which has already designed and completed several building projects for the University. 

“They have done wonderful work for Notre Dame beginning with the design of the Eck Visitors Center and Hammes Bookstore,” Marsh said.

John Staud, acting director of the institute of educational initiatives and executive director of ACE, and Theo Helm, director of communications for the institute of educational initiatives and ACE, have served as liaisons to University facilities design and operation. 

Staud spoke to the collaboration between ACE and architectural firm SLAM Collaborative. 

He said the project has been a “real team effort” between ACE, University facilities design and operation and SLAM. 

“The architect came in and spent two days last year — I think it was in January or February — just listening to every single unit and person within ACE and more broadly the institute for educational initiatives,” Staud said.

He said they were interested in learning about the usage and functions of the space. 

“Every single person in the organization, including our custodian, was listened to,” Staud said. “It’s custodians and the admins who sometimes realize where the storage limitations are. They know the buildings best.” 

Staud spoke to the institute’s aspirations for the new building. 

“Above all, we’d love it to be a place that brings people together, certainly in June or July when undergrads are gone,” Staud said. “In most summers, we will run at least 1,200 people through our programs.”

He said there will be a student commons in the new building. 

“We hope undergrads in particular will want to just come and study and be together and hangout and get to know ACE in the process,” Staud said. 

Marsh said the University started developing the project in the last two years or so. The funds for the new building’s construction were given as a gift. 

Marsh described the architectural style of the new Remick Family Hall. 

“Remick Family Hall has been designed in the Second French Empire style in the spirit of Brownson Hall as well as the nearby St. Ed’s Hall,” Marsh said. 

He said it will improve the look of the area around the Main Building. 

“It will better define Sorin Court and improve the framed view of the Main Building and Golden Dome as one looks south upon arriving at the front door of the Main Building,” Marsh said. 

Staud said he is excited that the new building will draw energy back to the area of campus near the Main Building and Basilica. 

“I think a lot of the energy of late [is in] Duncan and the southeast part of campus. We are so thrilled that the University chooses to invest in this wonderful space at the heart of campus near the main building, the Basilica and the Grotto,” Staud said. “We want it to be a space that the entire University feels comfortable to come visit, to work in and to have fun in.” 

Marsh said the anticipated completion date of the Remick Family Hall project is summer 2021. 

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